Manchester City will go head-to-head with Arsenal in the fourth round of the 2022–23 FA Cup competition. The fixture is scheduled to be played at the Etihad Stadium on Friday, January 27.
The rivalry between the two clubs has been intense this season, as they are currently battling for the Premier League title.
The Cityzens defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the third round to book their place in the fourth round of the competition. The Gunners, on the other hand, defeated Oxford United 3-0 to book their place in the fourth round as well.
Hence, in this article, we will look at three key individual battles that could determine the outcome of this encounter.
Without further ado, let's look at them.
#3 Riyad Mahrez vs Oleksandr Zinchenko
Despite struggling with inconsistency at the start of the season, it can be stated that Mahrez's attacking contributions have been a major part of Manchester City's final third in recent weeks.
Similarly, the Algerian international has netted five goals in his last five games for the Cityzens, including a brace against Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup competition.
Mahrez is tricky on the flank, and his ability to advance with the ball into the penalty box is outstanding. Monitoring his movements in attack is a tough task as his vision for goal is also outstanding.
Oleksandr Zinchenko will have to be defensively alert if he intends to keep Mahrez under wraps. However, the Ukrainian international's familiarity with Manchester City's style of play could give him a much-needed boost in defense. It will be interesting to see if he can silence Mahrez in this encounter.
#2 Eddie Nketiah vs Manuel Akanji
Nketiah is currently one of the most in-form strikers in Europe and his attacking intuition has been remarkable in recent weeks.
The Englishman has netted five goals in his last five games for the Gunners, including a brace against Oxford United in the third round of the FA Cup competition.
Nketiah’s ability to position himself properly in the penalty box has been outstanding and his vision for goal is impressive as well. Monitoring his movements in attack is a difficult task as he can easily manipulate his opponent in the final third.
Manuel Akanji will have to keep him under close watch if he intends to silence him in this encounter. However, Akanji is experienced and his defensive intuition has been outstanding as well. It will be interesting to see if he can keep Nketiah under his radar.
#1 Erling Haaland vs Gabriel Magalhães
The Norwegian is dangerous, and his presence in the attack has been significant for the Cityzens so far.
Haaland has netted four goals in his last five games for Manchester City. Stopping Haaland from scoring is a tough task as his ability to position himself in attack is remarkable, and Gabriel Magalhães will definitely have his work cut out for him.
However, Gabriel has been solid in defense this season, and his defensive awareness has been impressive as well. It will be interesting to see if he can stop Haaland from scoring in this encounter.
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